Editorial: What does the lieutenant governor do?


JOE JOYNEROther than a whole bunch of ribbon-cutting gigs, why does Florida need a Lieutenant Governor? Jennifer Carroll left office in March; and, the hallowed halls of state government have not collapsed, and we’ve saved eight months of her $125,000 annual salary.

The only time that I recall a Lieutenant Governor making the news is when they’re causing trouble or costing us money — like Jeff Kottkamp and his $400,000 worth of travel expenses. Most other states provide for the succession of Governor from other elected cabinet members — like the Attorney General. But Florida pays for a “vice-governor” who is appointed, their salary and benefits, a chief-of-staff and assistants, a program analyst and a personal aide.

Reports have surfaced that Florida Governor Rick Scott is currently considering a new Lieutenant Governor from a list of four names and one of those candidates should sound familiar to St Johns County residents — Joseph G. Joyner Ed. D.

Joyner is the only one on the “short list” who isn’t an elected official. The last elected Superintendent of Schools in St Johns County was Otis Mason. Since that time, the job has gone to a superintendent appointed by the five elected school board members.

In St Petersburg, two gubernatorial supporters, State Senator Tom Lee and former member of the Florida House of Representatives, Sandy Murman, join Seminole County Sheriff, Don Eslinger; all in various stages of being vetted, according to the a spokesman in the Executive Office of Governor in Tallahassee.

We’re hoping Joyner is happy in St Augustine; he has been credited with achieving the highest educational outcomes for St Johns County school students on record and coaching a small army of teachers, paraprofessionals, and staff to work together under often less than ideal circumstances.

I’d say Joyner has better job security with the school district; he earns more money with his $147,951 salary, and doesn’t have to relocate to Tallahassee. The notion of our lieutenant governor being someone I know from St Augustine is interesting, but, I’ve known other lieutenant governors, governors, and cabinet members. No big whoop.

And, after all, when someone asks Dr. Joyner what he does for a living, he can answer them and people understand what he’s talking about. What does the “lieutenant governor” do, again?